• By The Financial District


The US and UK’s “special relationship” might become a bit rocky if “Irish” Joe Biden wins the White House and the UK can’t reach an amicable divorce with Europe. That’s one reason British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is in Washington, a CNN analysis stressed.

A deal signed earlier this year bypassed the need for a border between Ireland (which is in the EU) and Northern Ireland (which is part of the UK) — a hugely sensitive issue that threatened to upend the Good Friday Agreement that helped end the troubles. 

But the fudge meant that if Europe and the UK can’t reach a free-trade deal, some goods coming from the rest of the UK to Northern Ireland might face customs checks since they could end up in Ireland — i.e., the EU. Now Boris Johnson’s government says it wants to override that part of the deal — accusing Brussels of trying to carve up the UK with a trade border down the middle of the Irish Sea — and is in effect threatening to break the treaty. 

Johnson’s critics — including former prime ministers Tony Blair and John Major — fear that any hint of a border across the island of Ireland will reignite dormant sectarian hatred. But Raab told CNN on Thursday that “the Good Friday Agreement is not in jeopardy. Certainly not from the UK side.” There’s no sleep being lost in the White House over this. Trump loves Brexit and anyone who sticks it to the EU. But Biden, prone at any given moment to quote Irish bards W.B. Yeats and Seamus Heaney, sent shock waves across the Atlantic by tweeting his own sharp couplet, warning that the trade deal with Washington that Britain badly needs “must be contingent upon respect for the Agreement and preventing the return of a hard border. Period.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat who's likely to remain in control after the election, is also lining up behind the EU -- and Ireland, which enjoys strong backing in Congress. Johnson may have to think again.

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